“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver
Last weekend I had the privilege of visiting my younger brother on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, where he lifeguards in the summer. In the winters? He makes wooden sunglasses out of a garage in the Midwest to sell online and on the island in the summer.
And here I am a week after my trip, and I still can’t quite find the words to describe the state in which I found my little brother. I found him doing what he loves most, despite how unconventional it is, despite naysayers, despite what the “normal” professional trajectory is for us Millennials. Even on the hottest days on those beaches, he seemed calm, happy and energized when brainstorming about his burgeoning business.
He’s found a place where he’s surrounded by like-minded, supportive people from all walks of life and from all corners of the world. He’s living an active (and frequently grueling and exhausting) lifestyle where he spends most of his days outside.
He does not have a computer, and rarely accesses Facebook. In fact, he took off for Hilton Head right after my wedding with half of a car full of stuff. Half. (I don’t think he would ever call himself a minimalist, but he is).
The most important things? Surfboard. Sunglasses. Phone. More sunglasses.
If you want to catch a glimpse of the island life, check out Luke’s Instagram here: instagram.com/luke_shades
His story is a page out of some of the most successful people we know about’s book: started college, switched majors, switched colleges, didn’t know what to do. Instead of embarking on an expensive out-of-country internship, he discovered Shore Beach Service in Hilton Head. He went to work, where he got the idea for Luke Shades and is now out of school and fully immersed in entrepreneurship and beach life.
So when I saw him last weekend, my heart was an odd mix of light and heavy – how wonderful for him that he’s found his place and is starting such an exciting journey! And yet, here at home my husband and I aren’t “living for Monday” so to speak – we’re getting by just fine, but we’re not flourishing. We aren’t doing what we love in a place that we love.
Being around Luke and seeing his fearlessness and undeniable passion for what he’s doing made me think again about what it is that drives me, what keeps me up at night. My mind has been racing this week, lists have been made, thrown away, remade, lost, and remade again: what is my equivalent of wooden sunglasses? What is my equivalent of lifeguarding? (Notice “equivalent” – Lord only knows how different Luke and I am).
Everything is easier when you’re doing what you love – even the hours of work, the blisters, the struggles – because you have a grasp on what your purpose is. Your life is precious and you have the choice to either fill it with things, people, places and work that you love or you can fill it with everything else.
What is it that drives you? What is it that you’re dying to do and haven’t yet done?